Red Wings win first ever Don Johnson Memorial Cup

Kensington sends game into OT with 18 secs left in regulation. An absolutely overflowing crowd with not a seat to be found anywhere and standing room needed in places where you could not necessarily get a full view of the game on the ice but the 1200 or so + at the Kensington Credit Union Centre Sunday afternoon for the Don Johnson Memorial Cup Final for the Atlantic Junior Hockey Championship between the Island Arsenault Fish Market Western Red Wings and the Kensington Vipers enjoyed a classic from beginning to end.  Chasse Gallant playing in his third consecutive Atlantic Championship put the Red Wings up quickly 35 seconds into the game on a wrist shot.  The host Vipers scored in the final seconds of regulation rallying from a 3-1 deficit only to lose the game in overtime to the Red Wings as Chandler Wood having already missed on a chance the first time hung around and grabbed his own rebound and rammed the puck home with 13:51 left in the first overtime to give the Western Red Wings their very first Don Johnson Memorial Cup symbolic of Atlantic Junior Hockey supremacy.  The first period began with both teams skating hard, following Gallant’s goal, the Wings were playing slightly better on the forecheck until there was four minutes left in the opening frame when the Vipers began to press.  With 2:51 remaining in the first, there was a heavy skirmish in front of Wings goalie Luke Oliver and the net came off it’s moorings with all the pushing and shoving but the Vipers ended up on the power-play and despite applying pressure trailed 1-0 after twenty minutes.  The Vipers started strong in the second period and with just 1:23 elapsed, Dylan Wheatley who was a force to be reckoned with all week long rifled a shot home and the game was tied at 1-1.  The Vipers dominated play in the opening five minutes but the Red Wings always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and with 13:35 left in the middle period, Isaac Knox who had three assists on the afternoon made the initial play with Caleb Coyle coming up with a big save only to see Chandler Wood pick up a loose puck and as he fired it into the net, he gave his club a 2-1 lead.  The Wings began to pick up the pace after the go ahead goal. Knox of the Red Wings went in close but was denied by Coyle.  Both teams checked efficiently for a good portion of the second period not allowing a lot of great scoring chances but the Red Wings certainly took advantage of their opportunities and Alex Morrissey on the power play put the Wings ahead 3-1 with only 1:36 remaining in the second and that is the way the score stood after 40 minutes.  The Vipers started the third taking a needless tripping penalty only 4:08 not the third period but the Red Wings then took a penalty with 50 seconds left in the Vipers minor, giving Kensington a power-play for 1:10.  During this power-play, Johnny Arsenault’s shot from the point saw Wheatley just miss a tip in as Oliver was down on the ice.  The Vipers kept pressing but seemingly to no avail.  The Vipers Issac Wilson took a shot that just grazed off the goal post and it was still 3-1 with under 10 minutes to play.  Ryan Richards then sent a large contingent of Viper fans chanting loudly as he flicked a wrist shot at Oliver who caught it partially only to see the puck dribble across the goal line behind him. The Vipers at this point went into overdrive and were shooting the puck with intensity but could not find the necessary angle or spot to put the puck behind Oliver for the tying goal. The Vipers pulled Caleb Coyle with 53 seconds remaining in regulation and it paid off as with 18 seconds showing on the clock, Jonathan Arsenault snapped a wrist shot which found it’s mark just under the Red Wings cross bar for the tying goal sending fans in Kensington into pandemonium.  The Wings controlled the opening minute of overtime but by the three minute mark, the Vipers were back in the same form as they were late in the third but with then following some give and go, Chandler Wood scored the winner and 2018-2019 season was over and the Western Red Wings skating away with their first ever Don Johnson Memorial Cup.  Johnson’s daughter Catherine Kearley and grandson Matt Kearley were on hand to make the presentation of the cup.